July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Medina mayor’s pay boosted by city council

Medina City Council agreed Monday to raise the salaries of the mayor and finance director.

City Council’s Finance Committee, which includes all seven Council members, voted to raise the salaries to $80,000 for the mayor and $85,000 for the finance director by 2017, the end of the positions’ upcoming four-year terms.

Mayor Dennis Hanwell

Mayor Dennis Hanwell now earns a salary of $73,820.50 and Finance Director Keith Dirham’s salary is $82,341.22.

The raises will go into effect in annual stages over the next four years.

Over the past four years, Hanwell received raises of 4.5 percent each year and Dirham received a 3 percent raise each year.

Two weeks ago, Council members agreed to not raise their own salaries: $6,000 a year for Council members and $9,000 a year for the Council president.

A final vote is expected at the next Council meeting, July 8.

Council is up against an Aug. 7 filing deadline. That’s when salaries must be set for elected offices on the November ballot.

In addition to the mayor and finance director posts, the seats now held by Paul Rose, Brian Hilberg and Mark Kolesar also are up for election.

Kolesar, 3rd Ward, was the only one of the seven Council members to vote against the proposed salary increases.

During the 45-minute discussion, Kolesar said he wanted to keep the salaries at what they are now.

“I feel comfortable keeping the mayor and the finance director’s pay what it was this year, with no changes for the next four-year term,” he said. “I think that’s enough money to attract good candidates.

“I think the benefits package is enough to get good candidates.”

Councilman Jim Shields, 4th Ward, said the mayor and finance director should at least receive an increase in salary based on cost of living.

Hilberg, 1st Ward, agreed.

“I don’t think it’s fair to freeze it at 2013 rates and hold that for the next four years,” he said.

Rose, at-large, said the mayor and finance director deserve raises.

“The mayor and the finance director, they do put in a full-time job here,” he said. “They’re required to go out and do things above being here at City Hall. That needs to be recognized as well.”

Rose suggested an immediate raise to $80,000 for Hanwell and to $85,000 for Dirham.

But Hanwell argued against putting the whole pay raise in a single year — saying it might make upcoming contract negotiations with city workers more difficult.

“Negotiations are going to start in the next few months,” the mayor said.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.